Sunday, May 5, 2013

A brief guide to reflexology

Like many forms of massage, the origins of reflexology can be traced back to ancient times, over 3000 years in fact. But while there is evidence of reflexology in ancient Egyptian culture, it's in China where we believe this now popular therapy once began.
Since its earliest history, the concept of reflexology has been to re-balance one's Chi (Chi or Qi being the energy flow that runs through all living things), in order to treat a range of ailments and conditions, tackling any blocked or badly flowing chi within our bodies. While many regard it as an alternative therapy, some reflexologists combine the therapy with conventional Western medicines and medical treatments, in order to promote healing and improve one's general wellbeing.

The basic belief of reflexology is that different areas of your hands and feet correspond with other parts of the body, and by massaging and applying pressure to your feet and hands one can stimulate and encourage your parasympathetic nervous system to repair itself. Moreover, by targeting certain pressure points in your feet and hands therapists can target specific areas of discomfort in your body.

The practice is done through pressing, squeezing, and massaging techniques, relying on the therapists knowledge of which pressure points in your feet and hands correspond with which of your organs and other body parts. Some people believe whole heartedly in the effect and results of reflexology, while other only see it as a form of welcome attention and pampering.

Professionally, reflexology has been criticised by some sections of the medical community, who dismiss any claims that this massage therapy is able to cure or even significantly influence the cure of illness and ailments around the body, and deny that there is any reasonable proof to suggest otherwise. Despite this, there are factions of the medical community who recommend reflexology as a method of improving ones health, and even targeting specific injuries and illnesses.

A typical reflexology treatment

So what should you expect during a typical reflexology treatment? The most common form is done through foot massage, and you can look forward to the session starting with your feet being delicately bathed in warm water. This is not only very relaxing but it helps to promote circulation in your feet. 

The next step is to massage your feet with oils, which helps to soften the hard tissue of your feet, while easing any friction during the massage. After this, the therapist will begin to work through each of the points in your feet, targeting specific areas to encouraging the general flow of chi throughout your body. However, if you have a specific aliment or discomfort which the therapist is made aware of, they will focus on specific areas of your feet to target the problem areas of your body.

Some modern reflexology sessions will also incorporate the use of oils which help stimulate the mind as well as the body, with everything from the background music to the decor targeted to getting you into a relaxed and positive frame of mind, all of which are believed to have influence over your Chi. As a result such sessions can also tackle problems such as insomnia, depression, and even diet and appetite, while regular treatments are thought to help with long standing problems including migraines, bladder control, and even your performances in the bedroom.

While modern reflexology is still seen as an ancient alternative therapy, today it enthuses just as much science and knowledge as it does age-old belief. Whether you see it as a means of pampering or a way to tackle long term issues of the body and mind, reflexology has been around for many years, and remains as trusted and popular as ever.

By Kim Loe


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